Thursday, September 15, 2011

In-My-Dreams Gift Guide

***Edited to add: Yeah, so all of Danielle's gifts are $25 and under. The gifts listed below are not. Oops.

Today I am linking up with Danielle @ Breakfast at Toast (formerly of The Design Girl) for her birthday week celebration! She asked her readers who were interested to link up a gift idea post. So I made some gift lists. Of course, some of the items on these lists fall into the If-money-were-no-option-and-there-weren't-starving-children-in-Africa category, but it's always fun to dream!

2. Missoni for Target trench in rose wine. {not sure because it's sold out!}
3. Missoni for Target shoulder bag. {not sure because it's sold out!}

Here's why I heart everything on this list. The umbrella? I love clear umbrellas, and the bright dots make me super happy. I know everyone and their mama has blogged about Missoni by now, but I had to include these on the list. The Vera Bradleys? I will admit, at first I was totally skeptical of VB bags. I figured they would fall apart after a couple of weeks' use. But after owning seven different bags over the past several years, I'm a believer. These things are amazing. I'd love some big bags for traveling. I think the "I Heart Louisiana" is pretty self-explanatory. :) I'm a sucker for a beautiful monogram. And I've ordered from the Rusted Chain before and her work is outstanding. Can't wait to get another piece from her!


1. 27" iMac. {$1,699.00}
2. iPad 2. {$499.00}
3. PS3. {$249.00}
4. LSU season football tickets. {not sure of the price, but definitely in the $1,000's}

Why are men so hard to buy for? Why does everything they like cost several hundred, even thousands of dollars? These are the questions that play through my head. So if I had unlimited money and wanted to spoil my husband rotten, this is the list. He's actually already got a 27" at his office, but one at home would be nice. I did leave off a few things, like a new LED TV or a new Nikon with beaucoup lenses. But I don't know a whole lot about TVs or cameras, so let's just pretend this list includes his preferred television & whatever lenses he doesn't own yet. :)

3. Fancy Nancy doll. {$31.86}
5. Tangled DS Game. {$19.54}
7. Pink Nintendo DSi. {$149.00}

My daughter is obsessed with Fancy Nancy. Obsessed. Since the first time she ever read the original book, she's been asking for a "fancy" room, even going as far as wanting me to tie broomsticks to the end of her bed to make a canopy - just like Nancy does. I've been scouring Pinterest for ways to make a fancy room on a budget (because an $1100 Pottery Barn bed is waaay out of our price range). I have a feeling Christmas this year is going to be very posh (that's fancy for fancy!).

6. Ballard Quatrefoil Border Rug. {$19.00-199.00}
8. Ballard Fleur de Lis towels. {$16.00-32.00}

I'm on a mission to acquire some really nice fleur de lis items for my home, which became the basis for this gift list. I think these would do the trick for anyone wanting a touch a French in their home (the rug and the bowls are just lagniappe). :) Oh, who am I kidding. I'd take the entire Anthro Fleur de Lys line. The teapot is darling, and I don't even drink hot tea!


These are some nifty little things I've tried out (Mr. Coffee - I will own you one day!); things I find absurd but awesome (Angry Birds game); things I think are amazing and can't wait to get them myself one day (Project Life); and every fun list needs something to munch on. :)

I won't embarrass myself and reveal how many of the things on this list our family actually owns. OK, I'll reveal one. The blanket. That is the most awesome blanket ever made. My husband and I, who for over eight years of marriage hardly ever fought, all of the sudden started fighting like toddlers over sharing that thing when my parents gave it to us for Christmas last year. It's such a good blanket. Even good enough for the consequential sessions in marriage counseling. (Oh, I kid. About the marriage counseling. But not about the blanket.)

That's all for my gifts post! I hope you've enjoyed window shopping through NOLA-tinted glasses. Have a great weekend, everyone! (And happy birthday, Danielle! I hope you have a wonderful birthday weekend!)

A little bit transparent.

I debated blogging this a while back, and at the time decided against it. But I think it's something that needs to be shared.

I recently made some mistakes that I needed to ask forgiveness for from my husband (and before any tongues start wagging over what exactly I did, I'll go ahead and tell you it had to do with me messing up our money and I'm going to leave it at that). My carelessness and selfishness left us in a difficult place when it came time to pay for both my daughter's & my husband's tuition & books for this year.

I sat down with him one night to explain everything (I handle all the bill paying, etc. in our family and just update him on where we're at). I immediately burst into tears. The truth of the situation was that by the world's standards, my mistake was hardly that big a deal. But to me, I knew I had betrayed my husband. I had been careless and selfish and a poor steward of the gifts God has given us and my hubby had worked so hard for. I had cheated them both.

So as I poured out my confession, along with my tears, and begged for forgiveness, made promises to do better, I waited for an outburst. I waited for a, "What is the matter with you?" I waited for him to yank away the checkbook and my card. I waited for the judgment I deserved for my screw up.

Instead, he hugged me, said he forgave me and that everything was fine, and he appreciated my being honest with him. Then he went and got me some tissue since at that point I was crying so hard I was about to blow my nose on my shirt (no lie). If that isn't a modern day portrait of washing someone else's feet, I don't know what is.

Of course, then I cried even harder. I didn't deserve the grace he was giving me. The proof was in black & white on the bank statement. I had screwed up. I needed to do penance of some sort to make up for my mistakes.

But he took that burden off of me, and just encouraged me to move forward. He didn't bring up my mistake again.

That was over a month ago. Last night we had another conversation about money where my screwup came up again because it affected something else this past month. I started to cry again just talking about it. My husband held up his hand as I started to apologize again. "You don't need to do that," he said. "It's in the past. Stop letting it bother you so much."

* * *

This entire year has been one giant season of learning about heartache, grace, disappointment, forgiveness, and freedom. I've been unloving and bitter at times and God has had to soften my heart many, many times over. I'm daily learning lessons about forgiveness - what it means, why we do it, how to properly (humbly) ask for it, how to do it when people don't ask for it, how to offer it to people who by all outward appearances don't deserve it.

I don't think anything has ministered to me quite so much this year as this episode with my husband, my asking and his giving of forgiveness. Forgiveness is so polar opposite of everything we know. Would my husband have been totally within his right to tell me how bad I'd made everything for him, to take away my checkbook & card, and to put me on some kind of probationary period until I "proved" I could handle responsibility? Sure he would have. He forsook that right, choosing instead to pour out grace - grace he didn't have to give at all. Grace that could have been tough because he was the one who was wronged. He blessed my soul that evening by being Christ's hands and heart to me. I saw a beautiful picture of Christ's love acted out in my husband's actions.

How much do we cheat ourselves by not removing ourselves from topmost pedestal? We hang on to secrets, rights, the need to always have ourselves looking polished and shiny or 100% right. We alienate others by doing so. We miss out on opportunities to receive grace and become Christ to others because of our pride, our need to self-preserve, even if it's only in others' eyes.

The essence of the Gospel is this: reconciliation. I was deeply, deeply moved by how much closer I felt to my husband after this ordeal. A man I've known for 11 years, a man whose child I bore, a man who stood beside me in a hospital room during the scary moments where I was clinging to life. You'd think we couldn't get any closer than through things like that. But we can. And we do. And it is only through grace supplied by Christ.

We reconcile to God by our confession to Him of our unworthiness, our depravity, our filthy rags of sin, and our need for Christ's interceding sacrifice on our behalf. He reconciles Himself to us by pouring out grace, rather than judgment. By removing those sins as far as the east is from the west. He sets us free. And He draws us in. It's a closeness closer than air.

This has challenged me to become more real. Of all the problems of the church (and goodness knows there are many!) I think our reluctance to become real with each other is one of the biggest barriers. We can't even apologize or ask forgiveness to other believers because we feel we have to save face. Or we cover our shallow attempts at confession with excuses to explain away our behavior. That's not Christ. That's nothing but self and justification and pride.

Personally, I think it's time we bring back grace. Bring back being the hands and feet and heart of Christ to those we've wronged and have wronged us. Christ didn't shed His blood so we could make our brothers and sisters pay back every ounce of wrong they've done. He shed His blood so that, among many things, we would know what is even greater than justice: grace.

I'm chucking pretense. I'm praying for a fresh humility, a fresh infusion of the Spirit to give as good as I've been given. I am so thankful for a husband who loves me and, more importantly, loves Christ so much that he seeks to model Him at all times.

Grace. Unmerited favor. Unending blessing.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

New stuff (and another freebie!)

This week is cray-zay busy around here. Actually the next two weeks are cray-zay busy. I was FB'ing a friend of mine explaining why SC (my daughter) & I would not be joining them at Cool Zoo, and I realized it's because we have something on the calendar every. single. day. until the Friday two and a half weeks from now (as in September 30th!). Pass me the paper bag, I need to hyperventilate for a while.


I realize my calendar probably looks like a wide open field compared to some of your calendars out there. But I'm in a new world with this homeschooling deal. We get invited to activities and school functions and yet I still have to remember that I need to block out minimum 2-3 hours a day for her school work. Any less than that and she doesn't do as well (I know this from experience; I wasn't as stringent on vacation as I usually am and I can tell a difference in how much she has retained of the things we studied that week versus every other week). So it does make me lose my mind just a little bit to have some commitment every single day. But we can manage. :)

In my downtime (translation: work I'm doing at 2AM while the rest of the house is asleep), I've made some new things for my etsy store. One is a custom invitation I made for a friend from college. An elegant garden tea party birthday party for her daughter. (I'm also trying not to freak out over all of us who were in college together yesterday already have soon-to-be six year olds!) I can't wait to see any pictures she posts of the party, because I think it's going to be gorgeous!


I've also been working on more graphics. My focus this time was on frames. Circle frames, scallop frames, dot frames, heart frames. I just kept making frames as more and more ideas popped into my head. And then I did, what else? Added glitter. Everything is better with glitter, am I right? :)


This is the silver & gold set, but there are 10 other color sets to choose from in the shop. These sell for $6 each (for 12 frames) and are for both personal & commercial use. I will be releasing some non-glitter colored frames in the future.

My next graphic project is papers. My goal is to eventually have a full set of frames, papers, ribbons, etc. for customers to pick & choose what they would like in their digi-scrapbook kits.

I also have more Christmas cards and some new baby announcements to upload, so be looking for those in the coming weeks!

And finally, a frame freebie. While I myself am not a huge Halloween person, I know many of you are looking forward to it. So I made you some Halloween-colored frames to use in your projects.


These frames are free for personal & commercial use. Please make sure to note my freebie fine print and terms of use.

I think that's all for today! Hope everyone has a wonderful week! See you Friday for another freebie!

Sharing the frames at...


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Friday Freebies :: Scripture Memory Cards (Isaiah 33:2)

It's Friday Freebies... on a Sunday. Oops. I was out of town this weekend visiting grandparents and didn't have any internet till now.

Today's card is Isaiah 33:2. Just an all around awesome verse reminding us Who is our strength and our salvation in times of distress.

On this day of remembrance and mourning for those who lost their lives or gave their lives to save others in the 9/11 terror attacks, may we remember the comfort, strength, and salvation that comes from our gracious King!

Tomorrow I will be releasing some new commercial- and personal-use graphics, and might even have some more free downloads here on the blog. :) Stay tuned!

Friday, September 2, 2011

No Friday Freebie today

I am currently en route to Baton Rouge to wait out tropical storm Lee. Will be back next Friday with new freebies. Everyone stay safe this holiday weekend!